Joel Isaac’s street photography looks like it’s been refracted through a prism. Images of everyday street scenes are crystallized, distorted, and split into multiple parts to produce an effect that’s best described as kaleidoscopic.
“I shot the images using a Nikon F3, 50mm 1.4 lens and prismatic filter that splits the image 5 ways,” the Los Angeles-based photographer and filmmaker explains. These images are fully analog; the Nikon F3 is a 35mm SLR that was originally available in the 1980s. The resulting photos have a surreal and kinetic feel that’s decidedly cinematic. In fact, Isaac was influenced specifically by the “frenetic drive” of Ben and Josh Safdie’s recent film Good Time, a fast-paced crime drama in which two brothers attempt to rob a bank.
“I really wanted the images to feel surreal, but also anxious in some capacity, as you’re in a public space looking at scenes split into fractured sections rather than one total composite of an image,” Isaac says.
The filmic inspiration behind his work explains the feeling of anxiety that lingers in his photographs. Hovering ATMs, repeated florescent lights, and blurry crowds combine to create a dizzying series that gives the feeling of moving quickly through a busy city at night, not quite sure where you’re going to end up.